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Tibetan Medicine

tibetan medicine

Tibetan medicine is one of the oldest and continuously practiced medical traditions in the world. This has been practiced for over 2500 years and is still practiced today. Tibetan medical tradition has developed its own unique healing practices. Tibetan medicine is gradually being brought into the limelight as Tibetan culture draws much public attention both at home and abroad.

Tibetan medicine is a science, art and philosophy that provide a holistic approach to health care. It is a science because its principles are enumerated in a systematic and logical framework based on an understanding of the body and its relationship to the environment. It is an art because it uses diagnostic techniques based on the creativity, insight, subtlety and compassion of the medical practitioner.

Tibetan medicine is one of the five major science, and it is called gSoba Rig-pa , the science of healing. Tibetan come up with their own approach to medical science. All  material, which makes up our universe, is based on the qualities of 5 basic elements namely earth, air, fire, water and space, which are described in the ancient physics depicted in Tibetan medicine. These elements interact with each other, is deemed as the cause of disease and disorders in Tibetan medical tradition. The cure lies in the capability of balancing these elements. Good health also depends on the proper balance of diet, behavior, environment, and psychological and social factors, according to the Tibetan medical system. Tibetans, as all traditional people, lived in direct contact with the natural environment. They understood through experience and study that the forces manifest in the natural environment directly correlated with and influenced the functioning of the human organism.

So, we can define Tibetan medicine as an integral form of medicine that strives to maintain the equilibrium of the forces within the body. The human being is considered as part of nature, and equal importance is attached to both physical symptoms and mental health. The special thing is that Tibetan remedies are made up of many different natural components.

The special thing is that Tibetan medicine is made up of many different natural components. Tibet has been looked upon as the land of medicine and medicinal plants. Tibetan medicine is the synthesis of the most important traditional medical systems of Asia. Diagnostic techniques used in Tibetan medical tradition basically involve interviewing of the patient, urinalysis, and pulse reading and looks at symptoms as indications of an imbalance in the body and seeks to restore that balance.

Tibetans even applied Thangka illustrations many centuries ago to explain their medical theory through intuition. Some of the ancient medical Thangkas can still be found in Mentsekhang in Lhasa today. (Thangka, seen in every monastery and family shrine in Tibet, is actually kind of Tibetan scroll-banner painting and a unique art of Tibetan culture. Thangka generally falls into several categories according to techniques involved, namely painted Thangka, weaving Thangka, embroidery Thangka, paster Thangka, and etc.


All  material, which makes up our universe, is based on the qualities of 5 basic elements, which are described in the ancient physics depicted in Tibetan medicine. Tibetans, as all traditional people, lived in direct contact with the natural environment. They understood through experience and study that the forces manifest in the natural environment directly correlated with and influenced the functioning of the human organism. In the theory of the five elements we see an effort to define the qualities of the basic forces that exist in nature. Once defined they are named for their most identifiable manifestations: earth, water, fire, wind and space. The characteristics (such as a substance's taste) and therefore the nature of all matter, then result from the qualities of these elements individually or in combination


Earth has qualities of firmness and stability, and therefore provides the basis of physical existence and development.
Water creates moisture in all its forms and so in the body gives rise to all fluids
Fire due to its heat creates transformation and activity and therefore is expressed as for example metabolic functions.
Wind creates movement and therefore all aspects of circulation in the body.
Space provides the potential for existence to be created in the first place.

Combinations of these qualities make up the physical aspect of our bodies as well as its distinct physiological energies.



As with any medical system, understanding the various functions of the body is essential in Tibetan medicine. However, the underlying physiological principles, which create and maintain those functions, are of primary importance. Tibetan medicine defines three main systems which control the body's processes.

These three systems are created at various stages of development in the womb by an interaction of our mind's developmental process and the 5 physical elements. Embryologically, the mind acts as the basis for the creation of each individual's 3 principle physical systems: translated in English as Wind, Bile, and Phlegm. These three systems create and sustain all the body's functions.

Wind , creates an enormous number of functions. The best example of these functions is circulation, such as, circulation of our blood, circulation of the nervous system's impulses, circulation of thoughts in our minds, circulation of food through our digestive tract and eliminative organs. The mind expressed as attachment, desire or our materialist world view is manifested as the system of Wind.
Bile , gives rise to and controls functions such as metabolism, liver function and vision and allows our mind to function with discriminating intellect. The mind expressed as aggression, hatred, anger or the like is manifested as the system of Bile.
A disturbance in one, or a combination of these three principle systems results in illness. The disturbance can come from diet, behavior or environmental factors whose qualities, based on their constituent elements, act to disturb the qualities of any of the three energies. The manner in which these factors can result in illness will be more or less complex depending on the acute or chronic nature of the problem. All illnesses must be seen as individual and based on the situation of the particular patient's background.
Thangka Catalog
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43.5 x 29 Vajrasattva with Shakti Thangka
Vajrasattva, the sixth Dhyani Buddha with Consort.
Price: US$ 299.00
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28 x 20.5 Sakayamuni Buddha Thangka
Sakayamuni Buddha was born about 2549 years ago in what is now Nepal. He was known as Siddhartha Gautama, a prince and son of King Suddhodana and Queen Mayadevi
Price: US$ 399.00
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15.6 x 12.2 Antiquate Wheel Of Life Thangka Painting
Commonly referred to as the "Wheel of Life" this classical image from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition depicts the psychological states, or realms of existence, associated with the unenlightened state.
Price: US$ 29.00
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37.5 x 31 Buddha Life Thangka Painting
Buddha Life Thangka illustrates the life story of Buddha. All the historic part of Buddha's life is depicted visually in the Buddha Life Thangka.
Price: US$ 266.00

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